The backyard is a great place for parties and playgrounds. It might be hard to maintain your backyard grass. If you’re tired of the constant maintenance and upkeep that comes with natural grass, artificial turf might just be the perfect solution for you. Say goodbye to mowing, watering, and dealing with unsightly brown patches. With artificial turf, you can enjoy a lush, green lawn all year round without the hassle. Artificial turf has come a long way in terms of realism, durability, and eco-friendliness. The advancements in technology have made it difficult to distinguish between artificial and natural grass. You can now have a picture-perfect lawn that looks and feels incredibly soft. But, how to install it?
Here, you will go through the ins and outs of artificial turf, from the different materials available to the installation process and maintenance tips. Whether you’re a pet owner looking for a hassle-free outdoor space or a busy homeowner seeking a low-maintenance solution, you already have one. So, let’s dive in and discover the world of artificial turf, where lush greenery and carefree living come together!
- Artificial turf is available in various materials, including nylon, polypropylene, and polyethylene. Each material has its own characteristics in terms of softness, realism, and durability.
- Infill materials like Crumb rubber, acrylic-coated sand, silica sand, and zeolite are often used to enhance stability and mitigate heat retention.
- The base layer is important for stability and drainage. It typically consists of crushed rock or decomposed granite, which should be compacted properly.
- Roll out the turf carefully, making necessary cuts and adjustments to fit the area. Secure the turf with staples or nails along the edges.
- Optional steps include using a carpet stretcher to eliminate wrinkles, seaming turf strips together, and adding infill material to improve performance and appearance.
- Regular maintenance, such as brushing the fibers and occasional cleaning, is necessary to keep the turf in good condition.
- The cost of artificial turf depends on factors such as the quality of the turf, area size, installation complexity, and additional materials like infill and accessories.
Backyard turf, also known as artificial or synthetic turf, refers to an artificial grass surface that is installed in a residential backyard or outdoor space. It is designed to replicate the appearance and feel of natural grass while providing a low-maintenance alternative. Backyard turf is typically made from synthetic fibers, such as polyethylene or polypropylene that are woven into a backing material. It is often installed over a base layer of crushed rock or sand, which helps with drainage.
Backyard turf offers several advantages over natural grass. It requires minimal maintenance compared to real grass, as it does not need mowing, watering, or fertilizing. It can withstand heavy use and does not easily get muddy or worn out. Additionally, it stays green and lush throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions. These features make backyard turf popular for homeowners who want a visually appealing and usable outdoor space without the hassle of maintaining natural grass. It can be used for various activities such as playing sports, hosting gatherings, or simply creating an aesthetically pleasing backyard environment.
3 Types of Artificial Grass/Turfs
Artificial turf is manufactured using nylon, polypropylene, or polyethylene. Here are the types of artificial grass or turfs based on the materials used:
1. Nylon Turf
Nylon is a strong and resilient material used in some artificial turfs, especially those designed for high-traffic areas or sports fields. Nylon provides the softest and most realistic feel, although it is less durable compared to the other materials. It can withstand heavy use and has excellent elastic recovery, making it suitable for intense sporting activities.
2. Polypropylene (PP) Turf
Polypropylene, on the other hand, is highly durable but may lack realism. Polypropylene is a commonly used material for artificial grass. PP turf is known for its affordability and is often used for low-budget applications. It has a lower melting point compared to other materials, so it may not be suitable for areas with high temperatures or heavy foot traffic.
3. Polyethylene (PE) Turf
Polyethylene strikes a good balance between softness and durability, and it is particularly beneficial for pet owners as it is easy to clean and deodorize. Polyethylene is a popular material for artificial grass due to its softness and realistic appearance. PE turf is resilient and offers good UV resistance. It is commonly used for residential lawns, landscaping projects, and sports fields.
Also, safer alternatives for infill include acrylic-coated sand and silica sand. These options offer improved stability and reduce the risk of unpleasant odors. Zeolite, an eco-friendly alternative, is also available and possesses deodorizing properties that can be beneficial for households with pets.
How to Install Turf in Backyard: Step by Step
Choose the right turf for your backyard. Proper installation is key for achieving a long-lasting and visually appealing result. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to install turf in your backyard:
Step 1: Preparing the Area
- Spray the areas with a weed killer: Before starting the installation process, spray the entire area with a suitable weed killer to prevent weed growth in the future. Follow the instructions provided by the weed killer manufacturer.
- Remove the top level of the soil: Use a shovel or turf cutter to remove the top layer of existing grass, weeds, and any other vegetation. Aim to remove around 1-2 inches of soil to create space for the base materials.
- Plan your drainage: Ensure that your backyard has proper drainage by evaluating the slope and considering any existing drainage systems. It’s essential to prevent water pooling or stagnant areas on the turf.
- Install a border: Use plastic or metal edging materials to create a border around the perimeter of the turf area. This will provide a clean separation between the turf and other surfaces, such as flower beds or walkways.
- Add a weed barrier (optional): For extra protection against weed growth, you can lay a weed barrier fabric over the prepared area. This fabric allows water to drain while preventing weeds from growing through the turf.
Step 2: Installing the Base
- Add the base material: Spread a layer of crushed rock, decomposed granite, or similar aggregate material over the prepared area. Aim for a thickness of around 2-3 inches. Use a rake or shovel to distribute the material evenly.
- Grade the base: Use a landscaping rake or screed board to smooth and level the base material. Ensure that the surface is even and slopes away from any structures to allow for proper drainage.
- Moisten and compact the base: Lightly moisten the base material with water to help settle it. A plate compactor or roller compacts the base, ensuring a firm and stable surface. Repeat the process until the base is compacted, providing a solid turf foundation.
- Roll out the dry lawn on the side: Unroll the turf on the side of the installation area. This allows the turf to relax and straighten out while the base material dries. Give it at least 1-2 hours before proceeding to the next step.
Step 3: Installing the Lawn
- Lay out the turf: Start at one end of the area and unroll the turf across the base. Make sure the turf is aligned properly and extends slightly over the borders and edges.
- Cut the turf where necessary: Use a sharp utility knife to cut the turf to fit the shape of the area. Trim any excess along the edges, around obstacles, or irregular corners. Take your time to ensure precise cuts.
- Get a carpet stretcher (optional): For larger turf areas, it may be beneficial to use a carpet stretcher to eliminate wrinkles and ensure a tight and smooth surface. Stretch the turf gently to remove any visible creases.
- Seam the turf strips together: If you need multiple turf strips to cover the entire area, join them together using turf adhesive and seam tape. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.
- Fasten the turf perimeter: Secure the edges of the turf by placing landscape staples or nails approximately 6-8 inches apart along the borders. This will anchor the turf and prevent it from shifting.
- Add infill or ballast: Depending on the type of turf you have, you may need to add infill material, such as silica sand or rubber granules, to enhance stability, cushioning, and appearance. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct amount and application.
- Brush the turf in between infill applications: Use a stiff brush or power broom to brush the turf fibers in multiple directions. This helps distribute the infill evenly and ensures the fibers stand upright, giving the turf a more natural appearance.
- Water the lawn: Lightly water the turf to settle the infill and fibers. This also helps cool down the turf if it becomes hot during installation. Avoid overwatering to prevent waterlogging.
Concern should also be given to the pile height of the turf. A two to three inches pile height is recommended for high-traffic areas as it enhances durability and provides greater comfort for walking and playing. In contrast, shorter pile heights ranging from 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches are easier to maintain and better suited for low-traffic areas such as courtyards and apartment balconies.
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Average Artificial Grass Costs in 2023
Are you tired of the never-ending tasks of mowing, fertilizing, and watering your lawn? Say goodbye to all the maintenance and embrace a vibrant, evergreen lawn with artificial grass. The average cost of installing artificial grass ranges from $2,970 to $7,100, depending on various factors. For those on a budget, you can opt for an economic installation with an approximate cost of $2,000.
The national average cost for artificial grass is around $5,300. To provide a comprehensive price range, we considered a lawn size of 500 square feet. Calculating an average cost of $10.75 per square foot, the extreme low-end cost is $2,000, while the extreme high-end cost can reach $10,500.
Choosing polyethylene or polypropylene turf can help you stay on the lower end of the price range. These materials are less expensive, offer a pleasant feel, and maintain an attractive appearance. By opting for these options, you could save up to 50% on the cost of the turf itself, which amounts to approximately $1,250 for a 500-square-foot lawn.
Labor expenses typically account for 50% to 60% of the total installation cost. Alternatively, if you possess the necessary skills and tools, DIY installation can save you between $1,000 and $3,250 for a 500-square-foot area. Keep in mind that prices may vary based on specific factors, such as curved edges, slopes, existing landscaping features, or limited accessibility.
6 Factors That Influence the Cost of Artificial Turf
The cost of artificial turf can vary depending on the price per square foot ranging from $5.50 to $19.75. There are various factors such as the quality of the turf, the size of the area, the complexity of the installation, and the region you’re in. Here are some cost considerations related to artificial turf:
- Turf Material: The type and quality of the artificial turf you choose will impact the cost. Higher-quality turfs with more realistic appearance and durability tend to be more expensive than basic options.
- Turf density and pile height: Turfs with higher density and longer pile height often come at a higher cost. These factors affect the visual appeal and comfort of the turf.
- Area size: The size of the area to be covered with artificial turf will directly affect the overall cost. Larger areas require more materials and labor, resulting in a higher cost.
- Installation costs: The cost of installation may vary depending on factors such as site preparation, labor rates, and the complexity of the project. Additional costs may include excavation, base preparation, edging, and any necessary equipment rental.
- Infill and accessories: Some artificial turfs require infill materials like sand or rubber granules. The cost of these infill materials should be considered. Additionally, other accessories such as adhesive, seam tape, and nails/staples for securing the turf may also add to the overall cost.
- Maintenance and long-term costs: Artificial turf generally requires less maintenance compared to natural grass, but there may still be costs associated with periodic brushing, cleaning, and occasional repairs.
Get some quotes from multiple suppliers and installers in your area to get a better understanding of the overall costs involved. This allows you to compare prices, quality, and services to make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and requirements.
1. Is artificial turf safe for children and pets?
Artificial turf is generally safe for children and pets. It is designed to be non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals. However, it’s important to choose high-quality turf that meets safety standards and to follow proper maintenance practices, such as regular cleaning, to ensure a safe environment.
2. How long does artificial turf last?
The lifespan of artificial turf can vary depending on factors such as quality, usage, and maintenance. On average, well-maintained artificial turf can last between 15 to 20 years. However, higher-quality turfs with advanced materials and construction techniques can have a longer lifespan.
3. Can artificial turf be installed over existing grass?
It is not recommended to install artificial turf directly over existing grass. Proper installation requires removing the top layer of grass and preparing a suitable base to ensure proper drainage and a stable surface. Installing turf over existing grass can lead to poor drainage, unevenness, and a less durable installation.
4. Does artificial turf require maintenance?
While artificial turf requires less maintenance compared to natural grass, it still requires some upkeep. Regular brushing to keep the fibers upright, removing debris and occasional cleaning to prevent the buildup of dirt and stains are important. Additionally, infilled turfs may require infill top-ups over time to maintain their performance.
5. Can artificial turf withstand extreme weather conditions?
Artificial turf is designed to withstand a range of weather conditions, including heat, cold, and rain. High-quality turfs are UV-stabilized to resist fading and are constructed to have good drainage properties. However, excessive heat can make the turf surface hot, so it’s advisable to use shading or watering to cool it down during hot weather.
Artificial turf can be a practical and attractive option for homeowners looking to enhance their outdoor spaces. It offers a range of benefits, such as low maintenance, durability, and water conservation. Consider factors like quality, installation, and maintenance requirements before making a decision. When choosing artificial turf, opt for high-quality products that are designed to withstand various weather conditions and have a long lifespan and be worry-free about your backyard for years to come!
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.